Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - November 11, 2007

Hi everyone!

What a glorious and warm weekend it has been - we did enjoy a great walk yesterday morning - led by Jan, we walked the beautiful CU campus and had coffee and carrot cake (thanks to Christie!). After coffee, Jan, Laila, Barb and Christie headed to a lecture at CU while Mary and I headed back to our cars. Andrea did meet us for coffee also. I've enjoyed a pretty relaxing weekend - reading, movies, cooking! No events to get ready for!
I am sorry I missed last week's "field trip" to the Chapungu Sculpure Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens .

Here is Jackie's report:
"It was spectacular. The day was warm with a stunningly sunny sky, just right for experiencing the sculpture. They are enormous, emotional, sometimes sad, sometimes funny (especially the leap-frogging children!), and deeply moving. Being the artsy women we are, we cruised, appreciated, chatted, then ATE.
Lunch at the Botanic Gardens was surprisingly good. Our selections included: spicy (as in make your eyeballs fall out on the table) chicken soup, quesadilla with lots of peppers, big chunks of chicken and plentiful cups of sour cream and salsa, turkey wrap, and grilled tortilla with chicken, salsa and sour cream. Everything was yummy. Laila summed it up perfectly: "The food in this little one person stall was very good."
Not ones to cut an outing too short, we stopped at COSTCO on the way back to Boulder to do some party shopping for Barb . More food, of course. Consensus was that retailers change things just to make us see red when we're in a hurry. !#*$&!
Good friends, good sculpture, good food, and a good time was had by all."

Book Report:

Jan is reading/listening to 2 books right now - she's reading an interesting non-fiction book by Oliver Sacks called Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.
From Publishers Weekly
Sacks is an unparalleled chronicler of modern medicine, and fans of his work will find much to enjoy when he turns his prodigious talent for observation to music and its relationship to the brain. The subtitle aptly frames the book as a series of medical case studies-some in-depth, some abruptly short. The tales themselves range from the relatively mundane (a song that gets stuck on a continuing loop in one's mind) through the uncommon (Tourette's or Parkinson's patients whose symptoms are calmed by particular kinds of music) to the outright startling (a man struck by lightning subsequently developed a newfound passion and talent for the concert piano). In this latest collection, Sacks introduces new and fascinating characters, while also touching on the role of music in some of his classic cases (the man who mistook his wife for a hat makes a brief appearance). Though at times the narrative meanders, drawing connections through juxtaposition while leaving broader theories to be inferred by the reader, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. This book leaves one a little more attuned to the remarkable complexity of human beings, and a bit more conscious of the role of music in our lives

Jan is listening to Elie Wiesel's Night - a powerful memoir about his experience as a survivor of the Holocaust.
In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died.

Andrea recently read Alice Sebold's new novel, The Almost Moon. Sebold's last novel was The Lovely Bones - a huge success!

From Publishers Weekly
Sebold's disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator's statement that she has killed her mother. Helen Knightly, herself the mother of two daughters and an art class model old enough to be the mother of the students who sketch her nude figure, is the dutiful but resentful caretaker for her senile 88-year-old mother, Clair. One day, traumatized by the stink of Clair's voided bowels and determined to bathe her, Helen succumbs to a life-long dream and smothers Clair, who had sucked the life out of [Helen] day by day, year by year. After dragging Clair's corpse into the cellar and phoning her ex-husband to confess her crime, Helen has sex with her best friend's 30-year-old blond-god doofus son. Jumping between past and present, Sebold reveals the family's fractured past (insane, agoraphobic mother; tormented father, dead by suicide) and creates a portrait of Clair that resembles Sebold's own mother as portrayed in her memoir, Lucky. While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother's hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen's handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent

Susan is juggling two books right now - I'm listening to an audio book of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and reading When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton. Ususally, when I'm juggling two books, one is fiction and the other is non-fiction. I do have to say that the audio book is winning out over the paperback book. I may have to put that aside until I finish Water for Elephants. Jexy and Rae have both read and recommend this book.

Water for Elephants -

From Publishers Weekly
With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen's romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[...] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story's ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book

When Madeline Was Young -

From Publishers Weekly
An unusual ménage poses moral questions in this fifth novel (after Disobedience) from Hamilton, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for The Book of Ruth. Aaron and Julia Maciver are living in a 1950s Chicago suburb with their two children—and with Aaron's first wife, Madeline. Aaron has insisted on caring for Madeline after she suffered a brain injury soon after their wedding, leaving her with the mental capacity of a seven-year-old. Refusing to consider this arrangement inconvenient, Julia treats the often-demanding Madeline like a beloved daughter, even letting her snuggle in bed with Aaron and herself when Madeline becomes distraught at night. Decades later, the Macivers' son, Mac, now a middle-aged family practitioner with a wife and teenage daughters, prepares to attend the funeral of his estranged cousin's son, killed in Iraq, and muses about the meaning, and the emotional costs, of the liberal values of his parents. Hamilton brings characteristic empathy to the complex issues at the core of this patiently built novel, but the narrative doesn't take any clear direction. Though Mac suggests there are "gothic possibilities" in his parents' story (partly inspired, Hamilton says, by Elizabeth Spencer's The Light in the Piazza), the Macivers' passions remain tepid and unresolved, and Julia remains an enigma to her son.

Website/Blog of the Week - - Get Rich Slowly....."Personal finance that makes cents"

Podcast of the Week - Agatha Christie Radio Mysteries - go to and do a search for Agatha Christie - fun old-time radio

Vocabulary Word of the Week - xenophobia

From Wikipedia - Xenophobia is a fear or contempt of foreigners or strangers and people .[1] comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning "foreigner," "stranger," and φόβος (phobos), meaning "fear." The term is typically used to describe fear or dislike of foreigners or in general of people different from one's self.
For more info about xenophobia and how it is distinguished from racism or prejudice, go to

Cooking and Dining Report:

Two great recipes to share:

Classic Spaghetti Carbonara from Emeril Lagasse - this is great because it doesn't use cream or butter but tastes like it does!,1977,FOOD_9936_10210,00.html

Sweet Potato Soup from Sunset Magazine - I made this today to bring to book group tomorrow - had a little taste and it is yummy! The recipe says that it serves 25 as one of several appetizers at an appetizer party. Serve in demitasse size cups. To make it completely vegetarian, substitute chopped chives for the prosciutto chip garnish. You can make both the soup and the prosciutto chips up to 3 days ahead chilled in an airtight container.

1 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced, rinsed and drained
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs orange sweet potatoes, (often labeled "yams"), peeled and cut into roughly 1-inch pieces.
About 1 1/2 t coarse kosher salt
About 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup heavy cream
Chopped chives (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leek and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Put sweet potatoes in pot, add 3 cups water, 1 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Increase heat to high, bringing to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup until smooth.

2. Prepare the garnish. Spread prosciutto slices on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. (watch carefully, as they can burn quickly) Let prosciutto cool completely on baking sheet (about 1 hour), then crumble into tiny pieces and set aside.

3. Transfer pureed soup to a clean pot set over medium-low heat. Stir in cream and up to 2 cups water (enough to make soup easy to drink out of cups). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup hot, in demitasse cups, garnished with prosciutto or chives, if you like.

That's it for now - have a great week. I do have a request - I'd like to feature some Thanksgiving favorites next week - send me your family favorites and tips for the perfect turkey and I'll include them in next week's blog.


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